Meeting Marks Start Of NHS Consultation With Islanders

Around 30 islanders attended the start of an engagement process to shape future healthcare provision on the islands last night.

Rachel Crawley from the Primary Care Trust says it’s about “an amalgam of the possible and practical.”

The session discussed changing the way in which the back end functions of the hospital or GP practice are arranged and focussing on the patient, and she told the audience that if people receive the treatment they need, when they need it and are not disadvantaged in comparison to mainland residents, then they will have done a good job.

During a session with health workers on Tuesday, Rachel says staff made suggestions over how their working roles and areas of work could change and become less rigid, unlike the highly defined health roles common on the mainland, so there would be more flexibility to meet patients needs.

Rachel says she realises the islands are unique and it may be possible to effect special change just for us.

Indeed some attendees pointed our unique issues. Jane Hurd said there should be accommodation available for lengthy periods of treatments like radiotherapy and although this is available at Derriford, it still costs  £45 each night. Rachel said she’d take that back for further consideration.

There are special challenges with finding GPs or people to run a GP service on our islands.

In 2004, mainland doctors had the chance to opt out from out-of-hours services and fewer doctors now have the midwifery skills expected here, where GPs still act as the back-up to the midwife. The requirement to undertake accident and emergency work in the hospital also limits the number of potential recruits.

The current GP practice plan is to put in place a short-term contract and then sometime next year offer a longer contract. The NHS are taking their time over this because they want to get it right in the long term and not rush the decision.

Rachel told the attendees that the contract could go to a group of doctors or a service provider like Serco and she added that, until next year, the current level of service will be maintained by locums.

Some islanders requested input into the GP contract selection process.

Rachel says the PCT will write up a specification and outline the amount of money available for the service for whoever wants to pitch for it. The decision panel won’t necessarily go for the cheapest offer because if they bid low and cannot sustain the service that would bring bigger problems. But she reiterated that cost is a consideration.


One Response to Meeting Marks Start Of NHS Consultation With Islanders